SAD is a treatable condition that has symptoms of depression, mood swings, and general fatigue. The traditional solution for this issue historically was medication-based therapy with antidepressants or antihistamines, which are associated with side effects ranging from nausea to headaches. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that light therapy alone could be an effective treatment option without these negative consequences., With more research on light therapy lamps increasingly available at home there are more options than ever before for people hoping to avoid the use of drugs.

The “best light therapy lamps for sad” is a term that has been used to describe the use of light therapy as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy is also known as phototherapy and it is one of the most popular forms of treatment for SAD.

CNN —  

You may have pondered getting a light therapy lamp — or, as it’s sometimes known, a SAD lamp — to physically brighten your days, whether winter makes you want to sleep all day or you’ve been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD and other mood problems may be treated with a lamp with a light intensity of 10K lux put 16 to 24 inches away at a 45-degree angle from the eyes for 30 minutes, according to research.

We put seven of the most popular and well-reviewed SAD lights to the test. We looked at everything from the number of relevant settings and features to whether it could withstand a fall from a desk. Finally, three bulbs shone brighter — metaphorically, not physically — than the others.

Overall, the best light treatment lamp

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The Verilux Happy Light Luxe is sleek, thin, packable, and sturdy, with well-thought-out controls that make personalizing the experience a breeze.

Runner-up

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The Lampu Circadian Optics is a star at performing the most crucial duties of a SAD lamp, despite its lack of customization. It’s solid, well-designed, simple to operate, and bright, with a nonslip bottom that should be standard on all SAD lights.

The best light treatment lamp for travel

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Despite the fact that the Circadian Optics Lumos has a lower surface area than any of the other lights we examined and hence may take longer to reach full impact, this tiny workhorse gets the job done and won’t let you down.

Happy Light Luxe by Verilux

CNN/Dana Holmes

Verilux’s Happy Light Luxe

This is without a doubt our favorite SAD lamp; it has everything and none of the extra fluff. It’s lightweight and strong, and it’s the most adaptable lamp we tested. Even at its comparatively low price, it’s a real champion, easily exceeding the competition. Every one of the included extras is valuable and well-thought-out. No other light we tried, for example, allowed us to change the color temperature. A brief lesson: There is no such thing as white light. The warmth or coolness of the light, or the degree of pink, gold, or blue tint, is referred to as color temperature. Higher-lux lights, such as SAD lamps, have cooler — and more blue — temperatures. However, you can control the brightness and temperature of the Happy Light Luxe. Choose a chilly light, such as that of a summer sun, or a warm light, such as that of a comfortable late morning or early sunset.

The three controls are simple to figure out — with a short test or a fast read of the instructions — and are located on the front, which means there’s less fumbling, picking up, or feeling around for a button than on other versions we tried. Overall, the number of possible settings seems limitless, particularly when we consider not only the four brightness levels and three color temperatures, but also the timer, which can be adjusted in five-minute increments up to a complete 60-minute session. The timer is perfect for a lengthy morning workout or a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon. Finding the correct combination is part of the fun of this lamp; you may play about with the settings until you discover the one that works best for you out of the 144 options.

The lamp’s adaptability and durability are two more noteworthy features. It comes with a simple mounting kit that can be used to install it on the wall. Basically, you change the foot from the bottom to the rear of the lamp and hang it anywhere you like using a screw and an accompanying anchor. As a result, it can operate in even the tiniest, most congested room or workspace.

We successfully knocked the UV-free Happy Light Luxe off of a desk onto both a rug and a hard floor from a countertop multiple times during our drop-testing. Each time, the attachable foot dropped off, yet it was simply reattached without causing any bodily harm or malfunction. This light is sleek, smooth, and easy on the eyes in terms of style. The edges are contoured, and the matte screen, whether on or off, avoids glare. The white casing may clash with certain decors and may get dusty, however this can easily cleaned by swiping with a moist cloth.

One unusual flaw of this light is that its chord, at little under 6 feet, isn’t as lengthy as the competition’s. The other two winners had cables that are longer than 7 feet, which isn’t a significant deal, but we had trouble getting the Happy Light Luxe’s chord to reach the socket behind our 36-inch-deep desk, so we had to use an extension cord. We also want the flexibility to rotate or elevate the light to further personalize the experience.

 Circadian Optics Lampu

CNN/Dana Holmes

Circadian Optics Lampu

The Circadian Optics Lampu is available for $10 cheaper than the ultimate winner. We had a feeling we were going to enjoy this lamp even before we opened the package. The packaging was intelligent, and the design went above and beyond the call of duty, giving us optimism that there will be greater attention to detail in the future. It turns out that we were correct. It has good appearance, generates bright light, is simple to carry about the house or workplace, and is not easily broken if dropped.

Lampu resembles a modernist sculpture more than the other lights we tried, making it both basic and conversational. Its round design also seems to improve its endurance, since the absence of edges to fracture benefited it tremendously during the drop test. The Lampu still looked and worked like new after many drops. The overall feel of the build is quite robust, with all of the components well attached and no jiggling or rattling. It received the highest drop test score of any lamp we tested, despite the fact that it is heavy enough not to fall over easily. None of the pieces showed evidence of loosening after a lot of twisting and testing. The winner’s chord is also substantially longer – 7 feet 4 inches against 5 feet 10 inches. The Lampu has a slightly lesser light-surface area than the Happy Light Luxe, measuring 38.5 square inches against 54 square inches. Its circular design, on the other hand, made it seem more like a sun light and cozier than the Happy Light Luxe, which, with its rectangular shape and stand, felt more practical.

There are various reasons why this lamp didn’t receive our prize, but the most important is that it lacks settings. The Lampu only has three brightness settings, which you may access by pressing the button one, two, or three times. The positioning of the single button is also not ideal: It’s on the back of the lamp, so you’ll have to take it up and search for it or feel around until something occurs. You won’t be able to feel it since it’s solely touch, not a switch, so you’ll have to pick it up and look for it or feel around until something happens. We found it inconvenient to feel around, so we simply picked it up each time, which is equally inconvenient, but quicker and less weird.

It lacks a timer, so you’ll have to rely on your phone or anything else to tell you when to turn it off. There’s no way to change the color temperature, so you’re stuck with the typical cool shine. Furthermore, although its glassy front seems bright and smooth, it may reflect other light sources in the area, causing a small glare. Although the design seems like something out of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which we adore, it may not fit with more conventional décor. Other than the button on the rear, it lacks a wall-mount option, but what it lacks in additional functionality it makes up for in excellent build and clever design.

Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp

CNN/Dana Holmes

Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp by Circadian Optics

If flying between time zones or traveling further north or south on a frequent basis is part of your daily routine, the Circadian Optics Lumos 2. is the SAD light for you. It swivels and folds up in a creative fashion, and it generates a remarkable amount of light for a light-surface area of just 9 square inches. If the pieces were janky in any manner, the folding may be a problem, but this slim, mean light treatment machine swivels into an infinite number of configurations, allowing you to receive your dose of 10K lux in nearly any situation.

The swivel is a useful feature that allows you to precisely orient the light. The Lumos folds up to a small size of 14 by 2.5 by 1.25 inches, making it easy to carry in your work bag or carry-on baggage. This long, tall lamp may also be mounted on the wall, making it ideal for situations when space is limited. Another feature of both Circadian Optics lights that we enjoy is the well-organized, well-designed, and easy-to-open box. This tiny guy took a beating and remained ticking when it came time for the drop test. We expected the sleek design to shatter apart when dropped from a counter onto a wood floor, yet it passed all of the drop tests with flying colors.

The light is bright and may be swiveled for best advantage, but because of the narrow surface area, it does not deliver a real sunny experience, which is why it did not get top honors. Aside from the three light brightness levels, this lamp lacks a timer and any additional features. The single button is conveniently located on the front, making it simple to locate and touch once, twice, or three times to get your desired brightness, however it seemed that only the brightest setting could be deemed comparable with the other lights. The highest setting was the only one that broke through the dreary overcast natural light that streamed in through the window on an especially dark and sluggish winter New York City morning.

For further adaptability, the Lumos comes with an attachable foot for use on a desktop rather than wall installation, although it seems like an afterthought. This lamp is extremely light and may be a little unsteady on a packed desk. For ultimate stability, we’d want to see the foundation be heavier. The foundation is made of durable plastic, although a nonslip bottom would be preferable. It’s already rather simple to knock down. Even pressing the front-facing button made it push back and wobble.

“What is SAD, anyway?” you may wonder before investing in one of these bulbs. According to the American Psychiatric Association, seasonal affective disorder is characterized as an episode of depression that occurs within the same time period each year for at least two years in a row, followed by remission throughout the remaining months. According to the National Institutes of Health, women and persons who live in places with less daylight during the winter months seem to be more impacted than others.

If that describes you, the next natural inquiry is probably, “Can a SAD light help?” Bright light treatment (BLT), which was initially studied in 1984, has been demonstrated to alleviate the winter blues. The SAD light is here to help. Scientists have begun to determine the optimum kind of light to use, when to use it, and how much light to use. The two most important factors in achieving the greatest outcomes have been discovered as 10K lux brightness and UV filtered light. In general, the light should be 16 to 24 inches away from your face, facing your eyes from the side at a 45-degree angle, or midway between your nose and shoulder. Never stare the light in the eyes. (Would you gaze directly at the sun? That’s essentially what this is trying to imitate.) The equivalent of one hour of sunrise is thirty minutes at 10K lux first thing in the morning (usually suggested to occur before 8 a.m.). For detailed suggestions, see the lamp’s instructions.

Consult your doctor before incorporating a SAD light into your morning routine. Light therapy usage has been demonstrated to be reduced or adversely impacted by some substances, lifestyles, and medical problems. Even if your doctor has given you permission, it’s a good idea to test your response to the light by placing it approximately 18 inches away from your face at an indirect angle (preferably 45 degrees from your forward gaze) for about 10 minutes. A SAD light may not be for you if you feel dizzy, have a headache, or have any other unusual symptoms.

We spent weeks testing to ensure we had identified the greatest light treatment lamp. Performance, construction, features, and warranty were all compared using the same criterion. From packaging to tumbling from a desk onto a hard floor, we took notes on how each handled the situation.

Because majority of the United States is now in the danger zone and experiencing those darker months, it was the ideal environment for evaluating the brightness choices and overall light experience. Our home office was crammed with boxes and wires, but it was evident immediately who were the front runners and who didn’t have what it took to beat the competition. When we line them all up and evaluate them, we may see distinctions that we wouldn’t see if we just used one light at a time. Important aspects like a timer and desk footprint emerged as conspicuous points of contrast, while subtle changes in things like brightness and light quality were apparent.

All of the lights we examined were bright enough to meet the 10K lux light treatment standard, but they each gave a different experience. We put each lamp through its paces, from packaging to adjusting the light’s angle, brightness, and color temperature, to see which one came out on top – full information on how we evaluated and rated can be found below. Larger-surface-area lamps did generate a more encompassing light that seemed less pointed (is that a technical term?). No, but you get the idea) than the smaller lights, but their bulkiness, as well as other issues, made them less desirable in general. The majority of the lamps we evaluated lacked timers, which we felt was surprising given that the suggested time limit for light therapy lamp exposure is 20 to 60 minutes. Using an egg timer or a phone timer, on the other hand, isn’t too much more labor. The usability of their many light settings and controls, as well as their mobility, were high among our three winners.

To decide our winners, we put each light to the following test:

Performance in general

  • For this test, the bulbs were divided into three groups. There were some that needed a minimum of 15 minutes, a minimum of 20 minutes, and a minimum of 30 minutes. The higher the score, the shorter the needed usage time.
  • Is the light of good quality and does it block UV rays? Is it capable of producing 10K lux? Is there a glare in the light? Almost every light received the maximum number of points for this. For the glare and the absence of mention of the UV filter, points were deducted.
  • The number of settings: All of the bulbs turn on and off, but every setting above that earned extra points. Swivels, timers, brightness controls, color temperature settings, and more are all included. More options equaled more points.
  • Lights were given points for their versatility in being able to be utilized in a variety of scenarios, such as on a busy desk or wall, in a luggage, or on a hotel bedside.
  • Heat: The higher the grade, the less we felt the heat of the light for a complete advised session. Sweating in your work chair is unpleasant, but thankfully, none of the lights emit heat, despite the fact that several of them felt warm to the touch.
  • While testing, we were cautious to note if the settings seemed notably different compared to each lamp’s own settings or the settings of the competitors. The higher the score, the more obvious, useful, and intuitive the settings are.
  • Is there a way to put a timer on the lamp? If that’s the case, how adjustable is it?

Build

  • Durability and quality: When it comes to building, the quality of the materials and construction are at the top of our list. To check whether we could damage each lamp with common stresses, we rattled, twisted, and knocked them off of countertops onto a hard floor twice and off of desks onto carpet twice. We also looked at the cleaning and maintenance instructions to see how simple or difficult they were to follow. In this area, there were some obvious winners and some clear losers.
  • Cord length: It’s amazing how much difference a few additional inches (or feet) can make in the length of a cord. This is particularly vital for a lamp that will be moved often from the bedroom to the dining table to the work to the hotel nightstand. When you can’t get to an outlet, you can’t get light treatment, which renders the lamp ineffective. We had a hard time getting a couple of them plugged in beneath the desk and had to resort to using an extension cable – disgusting. As a result, we gave lights with a long chord a better rating.
  • Overall design: You’ll want this lamp to look well in your workplace or house if it’s going to be a permanent fixture. Although this may seem to be a subjective assessment, we made every effort to analyze how each light would look in a range of settings. The greater the points, the more adaptable the design. The majority of these lights were made to be functional, but a handful struck out as being better designed than the others.
  • Buttons were available in a variety of forms, sizes, functions, and places. We were on the lookout for the switch at times, and at others, it was so easy that we hoped all bulbs could do the same. We considered whether the buttons were simple to use and well labeled.
  • Extras: We made a point of evaluating extra features that weren’t common across the board to determine whether they were useful or not. A nonskid base was one of the extras we observed a couple times and thought was brilliant.
  • Noise level: Despite the fact that this was a test category, none of the bulbs created enough noise for us to notice. As a result, they all received full marks in this category.

Warranty

The guarantee lengths varied from one to seven years, and points were given out proportionately.

10,000 Lux Full Spectrum Bright Light with Adjustable Lux Dial and Timer, Aura Day Light Lamp ($127.89; amazon.com)

We really wanted to enjoy this light since it had the fourth-highest score after our top three. We anticipated this light would dazzle us since it was the second most costly bulb we examined. It didn’t work out. It was absolutely ruined! First and foremost, the excellent stuff: The minimum suggested exposure period for the Aura Day Light Lamp is 15 minutes. It features five brightness levels and six timers to choose from. The innovative LuxDial dimmer knob allows you to change the brightness to your preference, or start low and gradually raise the brightness as you acclimate to the light. The other buttons make a pleasant quiet click when pressed and are conveniently located on the front of the device. The Aura is also wall mountable and comes with a 7-foot-long chord, making it one of the longest we tested. This light, however, failed our drop test. We knocked it off the desk and onto the carpeting, and it rattled but continued to function. The light dimmed, flickered, went out, and would not come back on when we knocked it off the kitchen counter into the hard floor.

We could hear rattling within the lamp even before we dropped it, and the shell seemed fragile immediately out of the box. The materials didn’t seem to be well-knit, and there was a lot of empty space within the lamp, making it hefty on the desk. Although its size wasn’t a problem (we did test bigger lights), it was bulkier than the winner and had a greater light-surface area of 96 square inches to go along with it. The Aura’s design is likewise a little archaic, but the dimmer knob and big buttons make it simple to operate for elderly people. Overall, this light may be suitable for someone who intends to leave it in one location (preferably a carpeted area) and requires a timer as well as easy-to-use clicking buttons and turn dial functions.

($109.99; amazon.com) Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Bright Light Therapy Lamp

The Carex Day-Light Classic Plus was by far the bulkiest light we examined. This was a pain to get out of the box, and it needed assembly, which came with its own tool. We thought it would be the star of the show after all the work it took to get it on the tabletop and its $100+ price tag. Unfortunately, this light did not live up to our expectations. For such a large stand, we wanted it to be able to fit over our computer displays rather than simply a laptop screen. The swivel also only swivels up and down, not side to side. It’s still wonderful to be able to modify things, but it seems overengineered and underperforms.

The extra-big and -bright light box situated on a swiveling arm was aided by the broad forked base, but the top seemed heavier than the bottom, and it was simple to knock it off the desk with an elbow. We didn’t dock points since the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus continued to operate after several falls. We were surprised that the swivel arm’s hinges didn’t break when it smashed to the floor in its bent form, primarily since it seemed to bear the majority of the weight and pressure on impact. As a result, we’ll give it credit for its sturdiness.

The slide switch, on the other hand, protrudes from the side panel and changes from “hi” to “lo” to “off” positions. The switch’s structure and position made it simple to locate, but when we wiggled it, it felt a touch jangly. Although the five-year guarantee is a nice perk, it wasn’t enough to propel this lamp to the top of the rankings. This giant might be the lamp of your dreams if you’re looking for a huge, brilliant, and engulfing light that will be a permanent fixture behind your laptop – the low setting also functions as a desk lamp.

Northern Light Technologies Boxelite ($160.10; amazon.com; originally $189.99)

The black metal case and large surface area of Northern Light Technologies Boxelite impressed us, but it didn’t have what it took to be our winner. Here are some of our favorites: Because of the vast surface area, the light encompassed us as if we were outdoors in the summer without emitting any heat, and we anticipated the metal to heat up, but it did not. By the conclusion of the specified time limit of 20 to 30 minutes, the top was slightly warm to the touch, but that warmth never radiated out. The basic on/off switch worked nicely and was simple to operate. It’s worth noting that this light just has an on/off switch; there are no settings or adjustments available. It also comes with a seven-year guarantee, which is the longest of any of the lights we looked at.

Although packaging was not a criteria in and of itself, it was taken into account as part of the overall design. Northern Light Technologies’ Boxelite packaging was underwhelming, which was disappointing given the price. The lamp was simply wrapped in bubble wrap and taped shut before being packed in a plain cardboard box with an 8.5-by-11-inch black-and-white instruction page. One of the white plastic screws attaching the screen to the box corners would fall off every time we knocked the Northern Light Technologies Boxelite off the desk. The light itself was still operating at the conclusion of the drop testing, but only one screw was still intact, and the screen was flapping. We couldn’t find any additional screws in the package, and we couldn’t figure out how to remove a damaged screw from the lamp. We felt this would be an excellent box light for a film photographer to use with slides or negatives, but owing to its structure, lack of adaptability, and lack of customization, it fell short as a SAD lamp.

Verilux HappyLight VT10 (Amazon.com; $29.99, originally $39.95)

Because of its compact size, the Verilux HappyLight VT10 seems attractive and adaptable at first look. It may fit in a travel bag, on a packed desk, or on a compact nightstand. Its pricing is particularly tempting in terms of value, and the provided instructions are comprehensive. But, in the end, this light was a flop. The light seemed less bright than the others we examined due to its tiny 20-square-inch surface area, and it could utilize the ability to modify the angle. There are no brightness controls or other options for customizing the lighting experience. With a length of 5 feet, it is the shortest chord we tested. When we pulled it out of the box, we could hear rattling bits, as if it had been badly manufactured and not damaged in transport. During the drop test, our first response to the rattling parts was confirmed. The top and bottom of the lamp broke off first, then the whole lamp, including the fluorescent lightbulb, smashed all over the room on the second drop. Overall, the cheap cost of this light is not justified. Spending a little extra money will buy you a far better and more durable product.

Moodozi is a company that has been producing light therapy lamps for over 15 years. They specialize in SAD lamps, which are the best type of lamp to use if you want to help your mood. Reference: moodozi sad light therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best SAD lamp on the market?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.

What is the best light for seasonal affective disorder?

A: The best light is a gentle, balanced one that does not contain blue or UV radiation. There is no perfect lighting for SAD because it depends on your personal needs and preferences.

How many Lux should a SAD light have?

A: That depends on the size of your room, but generally speaking around 150 Lux is enough for most people.

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